Gloucester Road is famous for the huge variety of shops and businesses on this unique mile of high street between Cheltenham Road and Filton Avenue. There are probably about 250 independent businesses trading there and the association has about 120 on its mailing list. Even in good times there is a constant turnover of new businesses opening up. What is remarkable is that, despite some going to the wall during the current recession, by and large empty premises are quickly filled by new entrepreneurs.
Small businesses, who are passionate about what they do, can adapt to market conditions in hard times, where it is perhaps harder for the big ship of a larger organisation to alter course and make changes. Running a small business leaves little time, though, for attending meetings and organising events but the association’s email provides a forum for passing on news, keeping in touch and providing moral support for each other.
Our main formal activity for the last three years has been to provide a Christmas lighting scheme, supplying traders who want to take part with outside wall brackets, Christmas trees and lights to brighten up the high street in the Christmas period.
During the royal wedding in 2011 many traders used their tree brackets as sockets for flag poles to fly union jacks. We are planning to build on this by arranging facilities for shops and homes fronting the Gloucester Road to fly a rainbow assortment of international flags during the Olympics. It could be a spectacular sight. We can arrange to supply and fix brackets, poles and a range of international flags. Anyone interested, please contact Peter Browne (see below).
We are also involved in the upcoming Bristol Pound scheme. Local businesses and consumers can open an account with a Bristol Credit Union, acting as a bank. They pay in sterling which is then converted into Bristol pounds of the same value. They can then trade with other members of the scheme using their Bristol Pounds. This keeps money circulating among local businesses and consumers, to boost the local economy and stimulate a sense of community and collaboration. This is a big idea which has worked well for many years in other parts of the world.
Membership of the Gloucester Road Traders Association is free and open to any business with a Gloucester Road address. Just email your name, business name, road number and email address to the Hon Sec, Peter Browne, .
Peter Browne 16 February 2012